Senate immigration bill may limit family visas

2013-03-14T16:04:00Z Senate immigration bill may limit family visasThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 14, 2013 4:04 pm  • 

WASHINGTON — Senators writing a comprehensive immigration bill may dramatically limit green cards for extended families of U.S. citizens, reserving them for immediate family members instead, a key lawmaker said Thursday.

It would be a significant change to U.S. immigration policy that’s long favored family ties over economic or job criteria. And it’s already sparking opposition from groups trying to protect family-based immigration.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is part of a bipartisan Senate group negotiating the bill, said the aim is to remake the immigration system so it has a much clearer economic focus.

“Green cards should be reserved for the nuclear family. Green cards are economic engines for the country,” Graham said. “This is not a family court we’re dealing with here. We’re dealing about an economic need.”

Unlike most other industrialized nations, the U.S. awards a much larger proportion of green cards to family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents than to foreigners with job prospects here. Green cards are permanent resident visas and allow holders to eventually become citizens.

Read more in Friday’s Arizona Daily Star and at

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